ID (Intelligent Dog)

Lucy can be scary sometimes.

Just now sitting here at my computer I heard her do something uncharacteristic—bark like an ordinary stupid dog for no good reason. Normally if she’s just excited about seeing somebody in the next yard she will stand on the deck and wag her tail. If she gets overexcited she may give out with a bark or two and then shut up. But this was a veritable State of the Union speech by her standards.

So I went to the nearest window from which I could see her, and I opened the window so I could speak to her. In a matter-of-fact tone that an ordinary stupid dog would have interpreted as merely attention and therefore a reward, I informed Miss Lucy what I would do if she got into the habit of barking like that—the idea involves going to Petsmart and buying something to put on her.

An ordinary stupid dog would have stood there wagging and hung on every word.

Lucy put her head down and looked penitent. She either not only understands English but can parse compound sentences, or she’s psychic and picked up the mental image of what I was predicting as her fate.


Friday,  November 18, 2005  McGehee

Passing the Buck

I actually am trying to write something that could someday be published in a form that calls for acknowledgments. And if that occasion ever actually develops, I’ll probably be more conventional than this or the other acknowledgments excerpted therein. Because cajoling me to do what is needed to make my work book-publishable would be far more difficult than cajoling me just to finish writing the damn thing(s), and the last thing I’d want to do is antagonize those responsible any further.

Acknowledgments for Yippee-Ki-Yay!, on the other hand, might actually be entertaining to write…

First, there would be my parents, who undertook to ensure that I would have a headstart on literacy; having been read to from an early age, I quickly became aware that books and newspapers held some kind of code and I wanted to break that code. With my mother’s help, I could read passably well at age 3. In kindergarten my class was given an assignment to make a book of the story of the Gingerbread Man. The teacher had to specify to me that I use drawings, not words. First grade, where almost everyone else was getting their first introduction to reading, was excruciating—and that was at a private (i.e., Catholic) school!

My first serious non-assigned writing happened while I was in high school. My friend Martin and I developed ideas for a number of science-fiction stories, and with his encouragement and input I managed to keep writing several of these stories until they were done. Martin had a talent for imagining and describing characters, settings and action in a very inspiring way. We didn’t always agree on his particular ideas, but I always found something in them worth building on. Later—after high school—another friend, Rob, caused me to dabble in poetry—which helped me with meter (which is useful in prose as well) and with ways to boil description and exposition down to a few well-turned phrases.

In high school I saw and played, yes, played, with the first real computer I’d ever had the opportunity to touch. About all it could do was play games, and its readout was a single-line display. Later my father gave me a Commodore VIC-20 that I suspect he’d picked up at a yard sale. Dabbling with BASIC was fun, but I never had the means to save anything; I even had to get a little color TV and a game adapter at RadioShack before I could even use the thing. It took a few more years to finally get a real PC, running MS-DOS 4.01 and Windows 3.0—to publish a political newsletter promoting the individual right to keep and bear arms.

After we were married, it was Chris’ idea to install 2400-baud modems in our respective PCs, but mine wouldn’t work so we did our Compuserve surfing and e-mailing from her machine. I discovered mailing lists long before I encountered USENET, though CS had its forums which were much less anarchic. And thanks to encouragement from various people I encountered via CS and e-mail, I compiled a mailing list for news items and my own commentaries, many of which were originally written for the newsletter. There is still a post on FreeRepublic somewhere (I’ve linked it on this blog before) listing hundreds of media-types who already had an Internet presence in those days BB (before blogs). For some reason, my name also appears on that list—the only one I know of who got there just by sending e-mails and maintaining a backwater website. Everyone whose encouragement kept me doing those things, has contributed to the advent of what you’re reading here. I could name some, but I would insult many others by omission and I can’t be sure those I don’t omit won’t sue for libel.

All this leads me to why I generally grow quiet and sort of fade away when the conversation comes around to “blogparents”—those bloggers other bloggers credit for getting them into blogging.

I was reading several blogs before I started writing one. Glenn Reynolds, Rand Simberg, Eugene Volokh and I can’t remember who-all else helped get me over the threshold into actually trying it out. I can also credit Alex Gimarc, who once sent an e-mail to a small group of fellow e-mail-listers, including me, suggesting we all collaborate in a group blog. Unfortunately I didn’t really understand what a blog was or I might have started sooner and as part of what might well have become a very popular group blog. Then again, as far as I know I’m the only one among those he e-mailed, who is actually blogging now. Anyway, that e-mail, I think, got me curious enough to look seriously into what a blog was—I’d been reading some and still hadn’t begun to grasp the concept yet. Too focused on what I was already doing.

And then there was the FoxNews.com editor who used a piece I wrote as one of the last “Blog of the Week” features that site was doing back then, just about the time I was first experimenting with my first Blogspot site.

Once I got started, Dodd of Ipse Dixit and Susanna of cut on the bias contributed not only to the evolution of my blog but to the growth in my traffic; so did Rob Smith and Charles Hill, and they still do now. In fact, if you look up to the right at the “Top Hands” blogroll, and among those on the “Posse” blogroll beneath it, you’ll see an almost complete listing of those still blogging who each own a piece of the blame credit for Yippee-Ki-Yay! as you know it. More are scattered through the “Reciprocity” list and the Bear Flag League blogroll. And even then it’s still an incomplete roll call.

So, you’re all responsible for this.

Now send me money.


Lucy likes a dog toy!

This is quite remarkable, even though Lucy is an actual dog. Up until now she has shown no interest whatsoever in various dog toys we have brought her. Cat toys, however, are a big hit, but we have to take them away from her because they’re just not made to stand up to those jaws.

Then one night this week, she picked up a sock off the floor, I grabbed the other end, and a game of tug-of-war ensued. The sock was much the worse for wear afterward, so I decided to see if I could find something more appropriate. We had gotten her a hard figure-8-shaped rope thing before, and Kevin and I had played tug-of-war with it in front of her, making play growly noises to try and get her interested. (It was surprisingly fun, too!) She was pretty excited about the whole thing, but we never could get her to join in.

But this sock business got me wondering if she’d like something softer, so I found a big, soft knotted rope toy at Wal-Mart, and it’s a hit. She is some kind of fur-covered tractor, by the way: I keep threatening to hook her up to a sled, because she can really pull.

Wednesday,  June 29, 2005  Mrs. McG

Cats and Dogs...

Our dog, Lucy, and our youngest cat Mickie, were playing in our bedroom yesterday.

Mickie would pop out from under the bed, and Lucy would chase her back under.

Our dog and cat were playing cat-and-mouse.

This is wrong on so many levels.

Sunday,  May 15, 2005  McGehee

We ♥ Our Dog

And that’s why we ♠ our dog.

Lucy is resting comfortably at the vet after having surgery this morning. We get her back tomorrow morning, and will never again have to worry, if she should get loose again like she did while we were on vacation in Alaska (while she was in heat!), that she might come home in a puppy way.

As Chris’ e-mail signature once said, There aren’t enough homes for them all—spay or neuter your pet.

UPDATE: Lucy’s home and doing fine. We have pain pills to give her, and we need to watch her for a couple of weeks to make sure she doesn’t accidentally pull her stitches open—but other than that, all’s well.

Monday,  January 10, 2005  McGehee





Original content and design © 2005 Kevin McGehee. Images and excerpts are © their respective owners.